With co-owner Lewis Lakin looking on, three-time Churchill Downs graded stakes winner Pure Clan
worked five furlongs on “firm” turf Thursday morning in 1:03.40 with jockey Julien Leparoux up in preparation for the July 5 $750,000 American Oaks Invitational (GI) at Hollywood Park.
The move was the third fastest of eight at the distance with the rail out 22 feet from the hedge and the “dogs” up.
“She worked in what I told him to work and that was good,” trainer Bob Holthus said. “She will walk in the morning and then gallop the next two days before leaving Monday morning. When she gets out there, she will walk on Tuesday, gallop Wednesday and Thursday and then work three-eighths in 40 on Friday.”
Pure Clan, who is also owned in partnership by IEAH Stable and Pegasus Holding Group Stables, added the Grade III Regret on June 14 on the Matt Winn Turf Course to victories last fall on the dirt in the Pocahontas (GIII) and Golden Rod (GII).
Pure Clan will be one of two Churchill Downs-based fillies going to the American Oaks. The other is My Baby Baby, owned by Sue McPeek and trained by her husband Ken.
EINSTEIN “PROBABLE” FOR FIRECRACKER RUN FOR PITTS – Trainer Helen Pitts sent three-time turf Grade I winner Einstein out for a gallop over the Matt Winn Turf Course on Thursday morning with a shot at the July 4 Firecracker (GII) squarely in the horse’s sights.
“I will probably run him in the Firecracker,” Pitts said of Einstein, who ran second to 2007 “Horse of the Year” Curlin in the June 14 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) on the main track. “I know the mile is not his best distance, but I want to get a race in him and point for the big one.”
The “big one” would be the Arlington Million (GI) at a mile and a quarter at Arlington Park on Aug. 9. Einstein is owned by Patricia Cunningham and Melissa Green, Lessee.
Einstein won the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby Week and took the Gulfstream Park Turf (GI) earlier in the year. He also finished second to NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) winner Kip Deville in Keeneland’s Maker’s Mark Mile (GI) at the Firecracker distance of one-mile.
LUKAS MULLS BASHFORD MANOR AS FIRST START FOR FAST DRAW – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has high hopes for a 2-year-old Gone West colt named Fast Draw, who is a full brother to two-time Grade I winner Grand Slam. He was eager for the colt’s debut in Wednesday’s fifth race, but Fast Draw was scratched at the gate after sustaining a cut on his leg.
“He just nicked it a little bit. He may have hit a capillary,” Lukas said. “I think he might be a little better horse at this age than Grand Slam.”
Grand Slam went on to win the Futurity and Champagne at Belmont to highlight his 2-year-old season and then won the Peter Pan at 3.
Fast Draw, who is owned by Robert Baker and William Mack, was back on the track Thursday morning and worked a “bullet” five furlongs in :58.60. Fast Draw is nominated to the $150,000-added Bashford Manor on July 5 and Lukas said he could show up there.
“Maybe,” Lukas said of the possibility of a Bashford Manor run. “I know there are some other maiden races coming up, or I could wait for Saratoga.”
If Fast Draw makes his racing debut in the Bashford Manor, it would not be the first time the Hall of Fame trainer has made that ambitious move. Two years ago he saddled first-time starter Pegasus Wind for a fifth-place finish behind Circular Quay in the Bashford Manor. That son of 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus would later finish third to Scat Daddy in the Champagne (GI) at Belmont Park.
The Lukas-trained Timber Country was a maiden making his second career start when he finished sixth to Hyroglyphic in the 1994 Bashford Manor. The son of Woodman would later win the Champagne (GI) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) to sew up honors as that year’s champion 2-year-old. He would later finish third to stablemate Thunder Gulch in the 1995 Kentucky Derby and won the Preakness (GI) in his final career start.
SPRINGER RETURNS TO THE RACES ON FRIDAY – The long wait for jockey Jordan Springer ends Friday afternoon when she rides three horses on the 11-race card.
Springer was injured in a training mishap last November at Churchill Downs while galloping a horse for trainer Frank Brothers.
“It has been a long time, more than seven months,” said Springer, who was the leading female rider at Churchill Downs during the 2005 Spring and Fall meets. “I shattered a bone in my upper back and when it first happened, I didn’t think I would be back.”
Springer, 30, is named to ride Carsons Regal Lady for trainer John Fahey III in the fifth and Geri’s Kid and Genius Govenor in the eighth and ninth races for trainer Roger Anderson. She is scheduled to ride Trade Water Lady for trainer Buff Bradley in Saturday’s 11th race.
NARA GRAD STRAIGHT TO RIDE FRIDAY AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Matthew Straight, a recent graduate of the North American Racing Academy (NARA) in Lexington, Ky., will compete in his first pari-mutuel races Friday at Churchill Downs.
Straight, 22, is the second NARA graduate to make his riding debut this month. He will ride two horses for owner-trainer Bernard Girdley, Bali Warrior in the eighth and Miss Sara K. in the 11th.
Jessica Oldham Stith, daughter of former jockeys John Oldham and Suzie Picou Oldham, was the first NARA grad to race, finishing fifth at River Downs on June 17.
Straight came to Kentucky from East Greenbush, N.Y., in September 2006 to complete courses at NARA under the watchful eye of Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron. Before graduating, he worked for four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher through an internship.
MELANCON, LANERIE TO BE FEATURED AT “JOCKEY TALK” – Jockeys Larry Melancon and Corey Lanerie will be the featured guests during this Saturday’s “Jockey Talk” – a new program at Churchill Downs that allows horse racing fans to mingle with their favorite race riders.
Each Saturday through the remainder of the Spring Meet fans will get a chance to meet, visit, receive autographs and take pictures with select Churchill Downs jockeys from 11:30 a.m. to noon (all times EDT) in the paddock area.
Melancon , a 52-year-old native of Breaux Bridge, La., is the third-leading rider all-time at Churchill Downs with 901 victories under the Twin Spires.
Lanerie, a 33-year-old native of Lafayette, La., entered Thursday’s nine-race program with 17 victories on the meet, good for eighth place in the rider standings.
BARN TALK – Trainer Todd Pletcher received an early birthday present on Wednesday when Starlight Partners’ Bullion Cache broke his maiden in his second start by taking the fifth race. The 2-year-old son of Seeking the Gold covered the five furlongs in :58.07. “Where is he going next? That’s a good question,” said Pletcher’s Churchill Downs assistant Mike McCarthy. “I would say probably Saratoga after we pull out of here or maybe Arlington.” Pletcher, who turns 41 today, is represented by one horse at Churchill Downs today, Ikigai in the sixth for owner Edmund Gann. … Bullion Cache’s victory was the second of three on the day for Robby Albarado, who boosted his total to the meet to 56. He entered the Thursday card with a six-win advantage on Miguel Mena in the race for leading rider.
WORK TAB – Chrysalis Stables’ three-time Louisville Handicap (GIII) winner Silverfoot worked a half-mile on the main track in :49.40 for trainer Dallas Stewart, the 13th fastest of 37 at the distance. … B. Wayne Hughes’ Ketchikan, runner-up in the 2007 Louisiana Derby (GII), worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 – 11th fastest of 31 – for trainer Al Stall Jr. … Turning in half-mile turf works were Silverton Hill Farm’s 2007 Blue Grass Stakes (GI) winner Dominican in :50.80 for trainer Darrin Miller, and Starlight Stable and Donald Lucarelli’s Sam P., eighth in the Stephen Foster in his most recent start, covered the distance in :51.60 for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Through Wednesday, June 25
Jockeys Starts 1-2-3
Robby Albarado 216 56-29-27
Miguel Mena 291 50-45-42
Julien Leparoux 259 45-49-44
Jamie Theriot 224 43-32-29
Calvin Borel 246 40-34-36
Shaun Bridgmohan 187 38-33-25
Jesus Castanon 218 26-22-26
Corey Lanerie 184 17-23-21
Brian Hernandez Jr. 164 15-25-15
John McKee 128 10-21-20
Elvis Trujillo 77 10-10-19
Tom Amoss 65 26-11-12
Ken McPeek 67 25-12-5
Steve Asmussen 112 24-18-17
Mike Maker 52 15-11-7
Dale Romans 119 14-25-20
Ian Wilkes 42 13-9-5
Eddie Kenneally 55 12-9-8
Cody Autrey 50 9-9-10
Greg Foley 58 9-9-8
Bret Calhoun 21 9-1-3
Paul J. McGee 41 8-7-3
Nick Zito 20 8-5-1
Ken and Sarah Ramsey 50 15-8-11
Maggi Moss 27 12-6-4
Zayat Stables, LLC 46 8-10-10
Richard, Elaine & Bert Klein 33 7-7-5
Heflin & Driver Racing 24 5-5-5
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable 14 5-1-0
Six (6) owners tied at four (4) wins